TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE.
If you look at my Compare and Contrast tag, you’ll see that I have…issues with the way recent DC animated films have handled sex and sexuality. For the longest time, I thought the sex scene between Batman and Batgirl in The Killing Joke was the worst sex scene in movie history because it came right the fuck out of nowhere, does nothing for Barbara’s character (it actually adds more problems to the overall story) and is the least sexy scene imaginable.
But I was wrong. Oh, I was very wrong. Because I was not prepared for Batman and Harley Quinn.
Just so you know what we’re in for.
Full disclosure: this is a godawful movie. It is sexist, the plot makes no sense, there’s a prolonged farting sequence that adds nothing to the story, the animation is cheap and stiff, the ending is bullshittingly anticlimactic, and there’s a pointless and distasteful post credits scene. But that’s not even the worst part. Oh, no.
At the start of the movie, Nightwing has to find Harley Quinn to get some information on Poison Ivy, who is planning to save the Earth in the worst way possible. In the scene pictured above, Harley has captured Nightwing and tied him to her bed. After ranting to Nightwing about how she can’t get a good job due to her past, she undresses in front of him and looks for something else to wear. The sight of Harley’s half naked body gives Nightwing an implied boner, and when she sees it, she gives him a mischievous grin.
This is how the scene plays out:
N: “Okay now. Don’t be getting any funny ideas” (I don’t want to have sex with you).
HQ: “Too late” *turns off the lights, crawls into bed with him*
N: *visibly uncomfortable in the situation* “Look, Harley, I, uh…”
HQ: *ignores him, makes it clear she wants to have sex with him*
N: *I’m not saying I don’t want to, cuz, that could be nice, all sorts of wrong, but nice…right now, I just really need to find Poison Ivy…” (I do not want to have sex with you right now)
HQ: *makes it clear that she will only give him information about Poison Ivy if he agrees to have sex with her*
N: “The things I do for Gotham”.
HQ: “I’m taking that as a yes”.
Like…this is basically a rape scene. Nighwting is tied up, unable to fight back, and is in a situation where he is forced to consent to sex with someone in the hope she’ll help him. Harley Quinn, a VICTIM OF ABUSE, is manipulating someone to get what she wants.
And what’s worse? The movie completely brushes it aside. The scene is portrayed as sexy and comedic!
This is a very disturbing trend in media. There are tons of movies and shows (mostly comedies) where a man gets raped or forced or tricked into sex by a woman, and it is seen as funny or even sexy. Any implications of trauma or assault get shrugged off like it’s no big deal.
Well, guess what. MALE RAPE IS NOT FUNNY. I can’t believe I have to say it, but it’s not. There’s a serious problem in real life of male rape victims not being believed in or getting the help they need because they were “lucky” for getting laid. And for a Harley Quinn and Nightwing relationship (that absolutely no one wanted) to happen under these circumstances is disgusting.
Like…it would have been very easy to make this a scene of enthusiastic consent. It wouldn’t have been GOOD necessarily, but there was absolutely no way Nightwing couldn’t have said “let’s do it, Harley!” even while tied up. But for some ungodly reason, the writers thought it was okay to write the scene as creepily as possible. That is HORRIBLE.
This is the only DC animated movie so far that I’ve seriously hated. I feel like I’ve wasted an hour and a half of my life that I’ll never get back.
Please do not watch this movie. There are better DC offerings that deserve your support. Male rape and sexual assault victims deserve your support instead of this piece of shit movie.